By Marc Courtiol
If you are a parent to a baby or toddler, you are undoubtedly used to your little one having several colds each year. In fact, it may even seem like as soon as your child has finally gotten over a cold, another one mysteriously appears not far behind. While your first instinct might be to reach for the nearest over the counter cold remedy for children, many doctors are now advising against it.
Cause for Concern
There is growing apprehension among pediatricians about over the counter cold remedies for children, particularly those under the age of four. The reason for this concern is the multitude of potential side effects that babies and toddlers may experience if they are given these types of medications.
This situation is one of great concern for parents, as their choices are quite limited when it comes to trying to treat the colds that their kids typically get five or six times each year. The best thing you can do, of course, is help your kids to avoid getting sick in the first place.
Some parents, however, wonder if this is realistically possible. Keeping young children free of cold viruses can seem, at times, like an impossible task. The good news is that there are some positive steps you can take that can help you to at least keep the number of colds that your kids get each year down.
Keeping Colds at Bay
Fortunately, the things that you can do to help prevent the occurrence of colds are really quite practical. While these actions certainly will not guarantee that your children will never catch a cold or virus again, acting upon them can certainly ensure that your children are less susceptible to catching viruses.
- Make sure your kids get plenty of sleep each night. When your children are tired their immune systems can become sluggish, which may result in them catching a bug. Babies require up to 18 hours of sleep each day, toddlers and preschoolers need about 12 hours a day, and grade school kids should get about 10 hours a day.
- Make sure they wash their hands. Sure, this one may seem a little obvious, but it’s worth saying, anyway. Almost 80% of infectious diseases are spread through touch (including colds and flu), so parents,kids need to learn very early in life to wash their hands in warm, soapy water regularly. When hand washing isn’t practical, teach them to use hand sanitizers or antibacterial wipes. They work just as well!
- Keep your home clean, especially if a member of your family is currently sick with a cold or other type of virus. Try to clean items in your home a few times each day in an effort to keep other members of your family from getting sick. Refrigerators, television remotes, video game consoles, telephones, and light switches are some of the most commonly used items in our homes that are usually not thought about when people are cleaning. Avoid drinks with ice or very cool. Like a cold soft drinks or iced mixed drinks.
If your cold prevention efforts should fail, always talk to your pediatrician about some remedies that you can try that will help you to avoid using over the counter medications.